Friday, April 22, 2011

Report from ... PMA Canada Chairman's Gala - April 12, 2011

The day started with a Malbec seminar, sponsored by Bodegas Norton, one of Argentina's top five exporters of wine, making 12 million bottles a year.  Founded by James Norton in 1895 the winery has been in continuous operation for 116 years.  In 1989 the winery was purchased by Gernot Langes Swarovski (yes the crystal company guy) and that changed the direction and fortunes of this winery immensely in the years that have followed.  We tasted through the Malbec based wines, 5 in total, plus a special cellar Malbec from 1974 (still had good flavour if a bit over the hill).  The best wine poured was the Norton 2008 Reserve Malbec which spends 12 months in oak and 10 more months in bottle before release.  The nose was smoky, mainly dark fruited with red licorice, and red raspberry; palate showed smoky notes, chocolate, dark berries that veered red with lots of aeration - there was just so much going on in there that it was hard to get a handle on everything, but one thing was certain, it was delicious and perfect for drink-now or holding-on-to (****+) ... big alcohol (14.7%) made it seem sweet with lovely fruit.

The next seminar was a Pinot tasting by Anne Moller-Racke of Donum Estate ... she made two very interesting statements about Pinot over the years and what she has learned:  1) "Pinot needs to be done in small lots", because mass produced Pinots lack the character that small lot, single vineyard Pinots have.  2) The popularity of Pinot has exploded in California, "years ago I was paying $400 per ton, today it's $6000 per ton."  As for the wines poured, there were 7 in total, all Pinots, all small production from single vineyard or smaller plots / lots.  Two really good examples that stood out were the Donum 2008 Thomas Carneros Pinot Noir, from a specific block of the Ferguson Vineyard: a nose of floral and red berries followed by a palate of violets, cran-cherry and a slightly stony finish (****+).  The other wine was the Donum 2008 West Slope Carneros Pinot Noir, a stunning mix of fruit, spice and finish, the wine rides the tongue delicately yet deliciously all the way to the finish. (**** 1/2).

As for the Gala tasting itself, over 65 wines were poured and the ones I will tell you about here ranged from very good to excellent. The rating scale is in stars and they equal as follows: 3 1/2 (good), 4 (very good), 4 1/2 (excellent) and 5 (outstanding).  The wines are presented here in booklet tasting order (as they appear in the informational booklet handed out) ...

Pongracz Sparkling ($18.95 - South Africa) - clean and fresh with a hint of that South African terroir which gives this wine a pleasant toasty flavour instead of that funky tarry-earthy note. (*** 1/2+)

Osborne Pedro Ximinez 1827 Sherry ($17.20 - Spain) - my sweet tooth kicked in here with its lovely toffee and raisin pie notes; sweet, thick and sinful. (****+)

Offley Colheita 1997 Port ($35.00 - Portugal) - cherries and spice load up the nose, long candied-mandarin-orange finish ... yum (****+)

Georg Breuer 2008 Terra Montosa ($29.95 - Germany) - stony and sweet all at the same time: green apple, lime and peach fruit mingle nicely together. (*** 1/2+)

Nugan Estate 2009 Manuka Grove Durif ($29.95 - Australia) - sweet plum palate with a raspberry fruit finish (*** 1/2+)

Korta 2009 Gran Reserva Petit Verdot ($26.95 - Chile) - good fruit with a hint of spice and a nice finish. (****)

Sokol Blosser Estate 2008 Pinot Noir
($65.00 - Oregon, USA) - nose of vanilla bean, coffee and spice; the palate is the real winner here combining earthy notes with the vanilla, coffee and some spiced-cranberry. (****)

Tianna Negre Ses Nines Tinto 2010 ($24.95 - Spain) - lovely red fruit, sweet cherry, red licorice, plum and red berries; sweet red fruit finish. (****+)

Norton 2005 Predriel Single Vineayard ($69.95 - Argentina) - blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvigon and Merlot with black cherry, chocolate, black plum, cocoa/mocha notes and a nice, slightly herbed finish. (****+)

Villa Maria 2007 Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir ($59.95 - New Zealand) - cran-cherry with delicious spice, real finesse of red fruit on the finish with a touch of cinnamon spice. (****+)

Montrouge Gogondas "La Petit Colline" 2009 ($34.95 - France) - spiced raspberry with nice red fruit, mineral and slight hit of tobacco. (*** 1/2+)

Moncaro 2010 Le Vele Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico ($13.95 - Italy) - a stunningly delicious white wine loaded with lovely tropical fruit along with pear and lime; best white wine of the day. (****+)

Nugan Estate 2008 McLaren Vale Parish Vineyard Shiraz ($24.95 - Australia) - cherry, plum with big fruit burst on the nose with each subsequent swirl of the glass; mouth also had a fruit explosion with a lovely red fruit finish along with lovely mouth-filling hints of chocolate. (****)

Allianca Quinta Dos Quatro Reserva ($59.95 - Portugal) - sweet cherry and plum on the nose, spiced-plum with a hefty tannin finish. (****+)

Villa Maria 2010 Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc ($34.95 - New Zealand) - lovely sweet fruit reminiscent of grapefruit cocktail. (*** 1/2+)

Finally, Innis & Gunn poured three beers that really impressed, one specially brewed for Canada Day 2011 ... the other two:
- Original Oak Aged Beer
- Rum Cask Aged Beer
all three available at the LCBO, the Canada Day beer is a limited edition that will be available soon.

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

My take...

**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Nugan Estate Bottle Fermented Brut Cuvee NSW Australia
-Nugan Estate Manuka Grove Durif 2009 SEA
-Chateau des Perelins Pomerol 2007, $37
-Montrouge Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Les Terasses du Sud 2007, $49.95 private order
-Montecillo Gran Reserva Seleccion Especial 1981, $75 private order

***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Breuer Nonnenberg Auslese Goldkapsel 2007 Rudesheim, $80 private order
-Sokol Blosser Pinto Noir 2008 Dundee Hills Oregon, $64.95 consign
-Collazzi Toscana IGT 2007, $46.50 private order
-Chateau Moulinat Haut-Medoc 2007, $24.50 Vintages
-Norton Perdriel Single Vineyard 2005 Mendoza (blend 60% Malbec), $69.95 private order
-Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2007 Marlborough, $59.95 consignment in July
-Tianna Negre Ses Nines Tinto Seleccio 2009 Spain, $44.95 private
-Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004, $65 consignment
-Candido Cappello di Prete 2006 Puglia, $19.95 private order
-Moncaro Le Vele Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2010 Marches, $13.95 private order
-Kunde Estate Century Vines Reserve Zinfandel 2007 Sonoma, $44.95 consignment
-Kunde Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2007 Sonoma, $34.95 consignment
-Quinta do Vallado Field Blend Douro Reserva 2008, $55.95 private
-Plaisir de Merle Gran Plaisir 2007 Paarl South Africa, $34.95 private
-Moncaro Nerone Rosso Conero Risreva 2005 Marches, $59.95 private order
-Alianca Quinta Dos Quatros Ventos Reserva Portugal, $59.95 private order
-Sotto Sole Negro Amaro 2006 Puglia, $29.95 private order
-Villa Maria Taylor’s Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough, $34.95 consignment
-Collazzi Liberta IGT 2009 Tuyscany, $19.95 consignment

*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Georg Breuer Terra Montosa 2008 Rudesheim
-Collazzi I Bastioni Chianti Classico 2008, $21.95 consignment
-Korta Gran Reserva Petit Verdot 2009 Lontue Chile, $20.95 consign
-Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay Paarl South Africa, $24.95
-Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino 2005, $49
-Lamberti Amarone della Valpolicella 2007, $48.95 private order
-Tianna Negre Ses Nines Tinto 2010 Spain, $24.95
-Supremo Sangiovese/Merlot 2008 IGT Puglia, $29.95
-Machiavelli Vigna di Fontalle Chinati Classico Riserva 2006, $38.95 private order
-Nugan Estate McLaren Vale Parish Vineyard Shiraz 2008, $24.95 Vintages